Advice on Choosing Backpacker Accommodations in Tonga
Only the most intrepid of backpackers make it to the islands of Tonga, the South Pacific’s only kingdom and a place for adventure, culture and nature. While keeping the costs low by staying in backpacker accommodations in the capital, Nuku’alofa, or the second-largest town, Neiafu, is simple enough, staying outside of these areas requires you to be a bit more creative with your accommodation choices. Find out more in this guide to choosing the right backpacker accommodations in Tonga for you.
And what do backpacker accommodations in Tonga look like? Take a look at the 10 Best Backpacker Hostels in Tonga to get a good idea.
5 Things You Need to Know About Staying in Backpacker Accommodations in Tonga
- There are very limited “hostels” in Tonga; dorm rooms are only available in Nuku’alofa
- If you’re looking for backpacker accommodations and can’t find a hostel, look for guesthouse accommodations instead
- Tonga’s budget accommodations are known for changing some of their services without updating listings online, in brochures, etc. With that in mind, be aware that some facilities, like air-conditioning, breakfast and WiFi, are not always available even if stated that they are
- Most backpackers in Tonga only accept cash as payment
- Accommodation standards are a little lower than what you might be used to, as Tonga is a developing country.
What Types of Backpacker Accommodations are in Tonga?
Before we start comparing the backpacker accommodations, it’s important to understand what accommodations are available in Tonga for backpackers.
In Nuku’alofa, there are some accommodations directed at backpackers, such as The Village Backpackers, Backpackers Townhouse and Toni’s Guesthouses & Apartments. These are made up of dorm rooms, as well as some private rooms with communal facilities. The Village Backpackers is the hostel with the most beds per dorm, while other backpackers only have two or three beds per dorm room. Learn more about all of the mentioned accommodations in the 10 Best Backpacker Hostels in Tonga.
Alternatively, guesthouses make up the rest of the “backpacker-style” accommodations, which consist of private rooms with shared kitchen, bathroom and lounge facilities. Rooms with ensuite bathrooms are also usually available. Learn more about what to expect from guesthouses in How to Choose the Best Guesthouse in Tonga for You.
As one final style of backpacker accommodation, there are some island resorts in Tonga with backpacker-friendly beach fales or a guesthouse. Learn more about those in the 5 Best Budget Resorts in Tonga.
Accommodation Standards in Tonga
It’s important to set a few expectations straight before checking into your backpacker accommodation in Tonga. Tonga is a developing country with a younger tourism industry and, in turn, less expertise than some of the more developed tourist hubs of the South Pacific. Some accommodations can be pretty basic, and not all of your usual facilities are provided, such as towels, toiletries, tea/coffee or even hot water. Tonga is more basic, so it is best to keep an open mind (and bring a travel towel).
Location, How to Get There and What is Nearby?
A major consideration for backpackers to Tonga is where accommodations are located. Tonga’s cheapest accommodations can always be found in the main towns of the country, such as Nuku’alofa (Tongatapu), Pangai (Ha’apai), Neiafu (Vava’u) and in the tightly compact central villages of ‘Eua. These locations also help keep the costs low due to the proximity of shops and services, where you can pick up supplies to make meals with the accommodation’s self-catering facilities
If you’re not travelling to all of the major island groups, then check out the following guides to help you make a decision on the island groups you’d like to visit:
- The Guide to Tongatapu on a Budget
- The Guide to ‘Eua on a Budget
- The Guide to Ha’apai on a Budget
- The Guide to Vava’u on a Budget
Note that there’s also The Niuas island group. However, no commercial accommodations are operating at this time. Trips here usually require organising a homestay, which you can learn more about in How to Organise a Homestay in Tonga.
How to Get There
Once you’ve established the island group (or groups) you want to visit and you’re comparing backpacker accommodation, it’s a good idea to compare how to get to your chosen accommodation. Most accommodations in Tonga offer airport and wharf transfers. If not, taxis are available from the airport in Tongatapu and Vava’u. For more information about getting around, see the following articles for advice:
- 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Tongatapu
- 5 Ways to Get to (& Around) ‘Eua
- 5 Ways to Get to (& Around) Ha’apai
- 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Vava’u
As established, all of the cheapest accommodations are in the main towns/villages of each island group. However, if you won’t have a car while in Tonga, then it’s a good idea to check out what is within walking distance of your chosen accommodation. Especially for Nuku’alofa, some backpacker accommodations are quite a long walk from the city centre.
Check out the links below on where are accommodations are located and what’s nearby, as well as a compilation of backpackers based on location:
- Where to Stay on Tongatapu and 5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Nuku’alofa & Tongatapu
- Where to Stay on ‘Eua
- Where to Stay in Ha’apai
- Where to Stay in Vava’u.
What’s Included in Your Stay?
Inclusions at your backpacker accommodation can turn a good stay into a great one, as the little extras might just make your stay much easier and therefore, enjoyable. When comparing backpacker accommodations in Tonga, make sure you check what facilities are available, as well as what extra services are included. Of course, price is important too, which we go through in How to Find Cheap Accommodation in Tonga.
Typical Facilities at Backpacker Accommodations
What facilities do backpacker-style accommodations in Tonga usually have? Here are some typical facilities:
- Car parking
- Shared bathroom with a shower, sink and toilet
- Insect-screened windows or mosquito nets.
Facilities and Services that Only Some Backpackers Have
- Free daily breakfast
- Communal kitchen
- Cooked meals on request (extra fee)
- WiFi (extra fee)
- Car rental (extra fee)
- Airport transfers (extra fee)
- Washing machine
- Air conditioning
- Outside deck or verandah
- Hot water
- In-house tours or cultural activities for guests.
More on How to Choose Backpacker Accommodations in Tonga
That’s it for how to choose backpacker accommodations in Tonga. If you need more advice, how about tips from our other accommodation selection guides?
- How to Pick the Best Budget Accommodation in Tonga
- How to Choose the Best Guesthouse in Tonga
- How to Pick the Best Resort in Tonga
- How to Pick the Best Family-Friendly Accommodation in Tonga
- How to Pick the Best Foodie Accommodation in Tonga
- How to Pick the Best Lodge in Tonga
Now with a bit of research behind you, you can start selecting the perfect backpacker accommodation for you with Where to Stay in Tonga: The Best Accommodations in Tonga.